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U/M4X ! 



MAY-JUNE 1945 

Because of the paper shortage and the war-time difficulties 
of producing the magazine, it has been found necessary to omit the 
March- April number. This issue therefore becomes the May- June 
number, Volume XIII, No. 1; and the Memorial Number will appear 
as the July- August issue. The staff of INDIANS AT WORK greatly 
regrets this unavoidable delay. 


MAY-JUNE 1945 


Washoe Indians Haying Front Cover 

A Message from Commissioner Brophy 1 

Extension Work among Indians by A. C. Cooley. 2 

Red Hail and the Two Suitors. . . . . by John G. Neihardt . , 6 

The Livestock Breeding Program by John T. Montgomery 11 

Credit without Money by R. G. Fister 15 

The Rehabilitation Program by Charles G. Young 18 

Credit for Indians by Albert Huber 21 

Tomorrow's Men and Women by Henrietta K. Burton 25 

Crop Production on Indian Lands 27 

The Washoe Tribal Farming Enterprise 29 

Better Wool for Navajo Weaving by James O. Grandstaff 

and Cecil T. Blunn 31 

John G. Neihardt, Editor 

Published by the 


Commissioner of Indian Affairs 



To the Indians and to the employees of the Indian Service I should like to re- 
peat here what I have said on several occasions- -that I come to the job of Indian 
Commissioner with a healthy respect for its difficulties and an acute awareness of 
my shortcomings. This is not false modesty, because I am confident that anyone 
would share my feeling who knew what I know of the complexity of the work and of the 
standards set by John Collier. 

If I am not able to come up with decisions as promptly as you would like to 
have them, the compensating factor will be that I shall not attempt to make decisions 
on the basis of any preconception. 

During my ten years of association with the Indian Service I entertained feel- 
ings of respect and admiration for the men and women who make up the Indian Service 
personnel. I have said this in days gone by before I had any remote notion that I 
might one day be named Commissioner, so I am not suddenly thinking up nice things 
to say. I mean it. For the most part, you know your jobs, you work at your jobs, and 
I believe you enjoy what you are doing. I believe that most of you have a feeling that 
you are doing important things whosefinal meanings reach beyond the present day and 
the present problems in hand. I also realize that the Indian Service staff works under 
various handicaps which are, in part, matters of organization, and in part matters of 
law and regulation. I intend to find out what these handicaps are and then help to 
reduce or remove them. 

This is not the occasion for me to discuss matters of policy. The Congress 
has fixed the policies and our function is to execute them faithfully. To do that it is 
essential that I become familiar with the particulars to which those policies are to be 
applied. It is the getting of these particulars—about the needs of the Indians, the or- 
ganization of the Service, its programs and operations on the reservations and in the 
field and at the home office—with which for the moment I am concerned. We are 
charged with the duty of rendering services to the Indians and of assisting Indians to 
become economically independent. The test of our success is whether those services 
are of a high quality, are helping the Indians to attain security, are reaching the great- 
est number of Indians entitled to them, efficiently and with a minimum of red tape 
and delay. I believe in strengthening the machinery of self-government in Indian 
tribes, and I intend to lend all the strength I have to achieve the fullest possible suc- 
cess in that direction. 

I ask the cooperation of all my fellow employees in the Indian Service, and 
especially I ask the Indians to cooperate with us to the end that the Indians may have 
the utmost benefit from our work. I intend to visit the various reservations and Indian 
areas as soon as possible in order that I may obtain first- hand knowledge of the needs 
and of the problems. 

Commissioner of Indian Affairs 



A. C. Cooley 
Director of Extension and Industry 

One problem is basic to all peoples. Different groups vary in the color of 
their skin, in their ideas of what is desirable and what is not, in their stage of cul- 
tural development, and in many other ways. Yet they are all faced with one common 
problem: how to get a living from their environment. Methods for doing this may 
differ according to the technological efficiency of the group, their concepts of value, 
their traditions, and the range of choice open to them. The methods, however, are 
but the means of solving the basic problem. All peoples must obtain sufficient pro- 
duction from their resources in order to survive. The purpose of extension work 
among Indians is to help them solve this problem--TO HELP THE INDIAN TO HELP 

Officially, extension work among Indians dates from March 9, 1931, when the 
Secretary of the Interior approved plans for the reorganization of the Indian Office. 
The work to be undertaken by the new division was outlined as follows: 

"Generally speaking, this unit takes in those matters which relate to 
the home and economic development of the Indian, his arts and crafts, 
farming, stockraising, marketing and rural organizations, work of 
the extension agents, boys' and girls' 4-H Clubs, sale and leasing of 
tribal and allotted lands, reimbursable appropriations as they involve 
these activities, etc." 

The work of the division today remains much the same as in 1931, although 
certain activities have been augmented greatly. Because credit for Indians has been 
expanded since 1931, a Credit Section has been established within the division. The 
former Rehabilitation Division has been combined with the Extension Division. Arts 
and crafts work has been largely taken over by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, 
although the Extension Division still promotes and finances some of these activities. 
Land sales are now handled through the Land Division. 

In the main, the Indians are a rural people, and their welfare must be based 
upon the land. Their economy, until comparatively recent times, was "extensive," 
compared with the "intensive ' economy of the Whites. Because of the way in which 
the Indian developed and utilized his resources it was necessary for him to have a 
much larger area from which to wrest his livelihood than is necessary for the average 
white man. From large areas which could support him with comparatively little 
effort on his part, from lands and waters abounding in fish, game, berries, and other 
natural products, the Indian was pushed back gradually and placed upon limited land 
areas. Although the economy of the Indian may appear to have been inefficient and 
wasteful, it must not be forgotten that it was efficient enough to permit his survival, 
and to afford leisure and the kind of life which the Indian apparently wanted most. 
His economy at least did not call for exploitation of resources to the detriment of 
succeeding generations. 

As the Indian was pushed back into limited areas, he could no longer depend 
to such a large extent upon the bounties of nature for his livelihood. His increasingly 
limited resources had to be developed and intensively utilized. Instead of depending 

Shacks like this replaced the tepee of buffalo hide 

upon wild or native products he had to sow, to cultivate, and to work, in order to reap. 
His limited agriculture had to be greatly expanded, and modern cultural methods 
became necessary. Buffalo gave way to cattle. Small areas now had to be used to 
support large numbers of people. Coupled with these changes were markets, price 
systems, values, and other mechanisms of an economy which was alien to him. 

The adaptation to a more intensive economy required many alterations in the 
Indian's mode of life, habits, thought, evaluations. The basic necessity of obtaining a 
living from his environment remained, but the method of obtaining that livelihood was 
entirely changed. The prevailing economy demanded that he exert greater effort over 
longer periods of time, towards ends which may not always have been very important 
from the Indian's standpoint. Even today the new economy may not entirely satisfy 
wants which to him are just as important as food, clothing, and shelter. When the new 
economy fails to supply him with even these three essentials satisfactorily, what is 
commonly known as the "Indian Problem" results. 

Not content with pushing the Indian back from continental to limited areas, 
the Whites soon encroached upon even these limited areas. The reasons for the dimi- 
nution in the land holdings of the Indians are complicated, but the motivating factor 
was the need and greed of White settlers for Indian-owned land. The manner in which 
the lands were taken away from the Indians is another story. 

It seems almost incredible that the Government should have turned over un- 
broken land to the Indians, a people largely inexperienced in competitive agriculture, 
and expected them, by virtue of this legislative gesture, to take their place in the pre- 
vailing competitive economy without a source of credit and without adequate farming 
implements or power. It is equally remarkable that the Government permitted so 
much of the limited areas to be lost to the Indians, and that such a long time elapsed 
before an effort was made to teach them how to use their remaining resources. Even 
today, receptive as the Indians have been to the efforts of extension workers, adequate 
financial support for extension work has not been forthcoming. 

The transition of the Indian to the prevailing economy brought other problems, 
created new wants. Gradually many things which the Indian had produced for his own 
use, or which had been supplied by nature, came to be supplied by traders. More and 
more cash money was required to satisfy his needs. The extension worker is faced 
with the problem of teaching the Indians to use their diminished resources in such a 
manner that their increased wants can be supplied. On some reservations the re- 
sources are not adequate, even with efficient intensive use, to supply a satisfactory 
standard of living. 

Sound planning, rather than haphazard use of resources, is the keynote of the 
extension program. Insofar as possible, extension workers are chosen for their spe- 
cial training in the major economic activities of the reservations to which they are 
assigned. Where livestock is the principal industry, they are trained in animal hus- 
bandry. Where irrigation farming predominates, specialists in that type of agriculture 
are appointed. Home extension agents work with the Indian women on home improve- 
ments and nutrition. Development of future leadership is emphasized through 4-H 
Club work. 

Extension work among Indians requires patience, kindliness, and an apprecia- 
tion of the racial characteristics of the Indians. In teaching the Indians how to make 
a living, it is found that often they do not fully recognize the extent of their needs; 
and consequently their agricultural efforts are too limited to take care of their re- 
quirements throughout the year. This was not too serious in times past when they 
could rely on wild game, fruits, or cereals to supplement their agricultural efforts. 
But it is serious today. Farm plans and budgets are continually worked out with the 
Indians to demonstrate to them the inadequacy of their farming efforts. 

Economic rehabilitation of the Indian will take a long period of time. The 
length of time will depend to a large extent upon the amount of assistance given. In 
some instances resources must be increased. Extension work teaches the Indians 
how to help themselves. Sometimes it may seem to a worker that it would be easier 
to do the work for the Indian than to teach him how to do it for himself. But that is 
not extension work. Economic improvement must be made by a people themselves if 
it is to be built upon a firm basis. Instruction and encouragement are needed, but the 
actual improvement must be made by the peoples affected. Economic development 
programs for reservations must be programs which the Indians understand, which 
they themselves have helped to formulate, and which they, with assistance, can carry 
out. The program, in order to be of lasting benefit, must be an Indian program. 

Extension work among Indians has been aided by the principles of the Indian 
Reorganization Act. The establishment of the revolving credit fund and the protection 
of the remaining land base have been of great value in assisting the Indians to obtain 
a better livelihood from their resources. But even more important is the principle 
of self-government, the enlarged participation of Indians in the conduct of their own 
affairs, the assumption of both authority and responsibility. The need for economic 
improvement is recognized more clearly by the Indians today than ever before, and 
they are doing more to bring about that improvement. 

Three factors, in particular, have been of great value in assisting the Indians 
to use their resources and improve their economic status. First, many of the cattle 
which were purchased by the Government under the drouth relief program in 1934 
were turned over to the Indian Service. These were loaned to Indians on a "repay- 
ment in kind" basis. These, combined with the cash loan program, have been of great 
help to the Indians in stocking their ranges. Second, the rehabilitation money first 

made available from emergency relief funds during the depression helped establish 
many Indians on a more satisfactory economic basis, and greatly improved housing 
conditions on many reservations. Improved housing meant a more satisfactory home 
life. A more satisfactory home life meant increased production to maintain that life. 
The third factor is the patriotism of the Indians since the war began. Their response 
to the calls of the FOOD FOR FREEDOM program for increased production has been 
not only a valuable contribution to the prosecution of the war, but has been and will 
continue to be a factor in improving their economic condition. 

Various phases of extension work among Indians are discussed in other arti- 
cles in this issue. They show the receptiveness of the Indians to this kind of activity, 
and the need for more help of this type. Both receptiveness and need are illustrated 
by the following figures on economic improvement on the Blackfeet Reservation in 













1937 1943 

Grazing land used by Indians, acres 

Dry farm land tilled by Indians, acres 

Irrigated land tilled by Indians, acres 

Indian-owned beef cattle, number of head 

Indian-owned sheep, number of head 

Total value, sales of agricultural products $154,379 

Good as this record is, the Blackfeet Indians are using only about one-half of 
their grazing land, 21 per cent of the acres that are dry-farmed, and 26 per cent of 
the irrigable acres on developed projects. Only 29 per cent of the families having 
agricultural income made more than $1,000 in 1943. One-third of the families re- 
ceived less than $250 net income from agriculture. 

What is true at Blackfeet is true on many other reservations. The problem 
of obtaining a living from their environment is still unsolved for far too many Indian 
families. An encouraging start has been made, but there is still a big job to be done. 

Indians round up their cattle on the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada 

^•"- c f^ 


(The following story was told to me by my old and honored friend, 
Nicholas Black Elk, Sr., of the Oglala Sioux. He assured me that it was 
very popular in the old days and that most of the old Sioux could tell it 
even now. I heard it in another and much longer version from Andrew 
Knife of Pine Ridge, a highly gifted teller of tales. As will be noted, it 
celebrates the mother power and the genius of woman. -John G. Neihardt) 

I want to tell a story. 

Many winters ago there were two young Lakota warriors. One was named 
Good Voice Hawk, and he was a very good-looking fellow. The other was called Brave 
Eagle, and he was not good-looking at all. 

There was a girl, too, and that is why I have a story. She was very beautiful. 
Also her father was a wichasha yatapica (a man they praise), because he had counted 
many coups, had given much meat to the old people, and nobody could say anything but 
good of him. Of such men chieftains were made in the old days. I will call the girl 
Red Hail, which is a sacred name; for hail and rain and lightning come together with 
the power to make live and to destroy; and red is a holy color, 

The people had camped in a pleasant place with plenty of wood, water, and 
grass; and the councillors had announced that it was a good time for war parties to go 

Now these two young men had been talking to the girl whenever either could 
find her alone, for both wanted her very much. Good Voice Hawk, the handsome one, 
would talk much about himself and say little evil things about Brave Eagle; but Brave 
Eagle, the homely one, would just look at the girl for the most part, making few words 
and saying nothing bad about anyone. 

A big war party was about to set forth the next day, and the two young men 
would be going with it. Maybe Red Hail liked them both and could not choose between 
them. Anyway, that evening when it was dark, she stole up to the big tepee where 
Good Voice Hawk lived, and peeked in through a little hole. Everything was fine in 
there. The young man was sitting on his braided rawhide bed, and his mother, sitting 
on his left side, was gently combing his long hair and preparing it for braiding. On 
his right side sat the father, busy making new wraps on arrowheads for his son. A 
younger brother was at the fireplace in the center, keeping a bright flame alive so 
that there might be plenty of light. And while Red Hail watched, the younger sister of 
Good Voice Hawk came with a bowl of wasna and held it in front of her handsome 
brother, so that he might eat and enjoy himself before he went to war. 

Then Red Hail stole away in the darkness to a smaller tepee where the other 
young man lived, and peeped in through the side of the flap. There she saw Brave 
Eagle sitting by the fire and he was busy wrapping arrows. The mother was sitting 
on her side of the tepee, the father on his, and the little brother was watching the 
young warrior. That was all she saw. 

ThenRed Hail stole back to her own tepee, and what she thought we do not know. 

In the morning the war party started, passing the tepee of the girl, who stood 
there watching. Among the first came Good Voice Hawk, and surely he was very 
handsome on his fine horse that danced about as he paused to smile at Red Hail. And 
as he went, he often turned to look back at her again, until he passed out of sight over 
a hill. Last of all came Brave Eagle riding a mule, and he did not look at Red Hall 
at all, but just rode on and out of sight. 

WhenRed Hail's father came back, the girl was crying, and she said: "Father, 
I want to be where the boys are. I want to go wherever they go." The father knew 
how it was with the girl, and after he had thought awhile he said: "My daughter, we 
will go together." 

So when he had caught two good horses and everything was ready, they started 
after the party; and when they overtook it, camp was being made for the night. 

Now as the war party moved on, the people noticed Red Hail, because every- 
one knew about the two young warriors; and there was much talk of how Good Voice 
Hawk would bring her tender pieces of cooked meat when they camped in the evenings; 
but Brave Eagle did not bring her anything. Now and then the girl would ride ahead 
to sit upon a hill and sing when the two young men were passing; and there were some 
who said they heard a difference in the singing, and that it did not favor homely boys 
who rode on mules. 

One day when the war party was getting near to enemy country, the blotan 
hunka, who were the leaders of such parties, held a council and decided to send out 
two scouts. Brave Eagle and Good Voice Hawk were chosen to go, maybe because 
everybody had been talking so much about them. So after they had been told just what 
to do, and it was growing dark, the two young men rode forth together, the one on his 
fine horse and the other on his mule. All night they rode towards the country of the 
enemy, and just as the day was beginning to break, they came to the sloping side of a 
bluff, sprinkled with stunted pines. 

Maybe there were people on the other side; so they tied the mule and the horse 
in a brushy place, and began crawling up the slope. It was not very far to the top, but 
daybreak had brightened when they reached it, and there below them was a village 
with many smokes rising, and already the people were moving about. 

As the two scouts gazed, they heard hoofs coming, and out of the brush not 
very far away a band of horses came trotting, and after them rode a man who was 
driving them to a good feeding place for the day. 

Then Good Voice Hawk whispered to Brave Eagle, lying there beside him: 
"Cousin, let us kill the man and scalp him and drive the horses home." And Brave 
Eagle answered: "No, cousin, I think that would be wrong, for we are only scouts. 
We should tell the blotan hunka what we have seen, and they will say what is best to 
do." But Good Voice Hawk would not listen, "if you are afraid," he said, "of course 
I will do it myself." 

He started crawling back and then got up and ran to where the mule and horse 
were tied. So what could Brave Eagle do but follow him? Should a warrior let his 
comrade fight alone, even if he is wrong? 

Now when they had ridden back to the top of the slope, there not very far away 
was the man with the band of horses. So Good Voice Hawk charged upon him, crying 
"hoka-hey" in a loud voice; and Brave Eagle followed on his mule. The man had time 
to draw his bow and let an arrow fly, but he was so excited that he missed; and just 
as Good Voice Hawk came near, the man's horse shied, and Good Voice Hawk charged 
by and did not touch him. 

Then Brave Eagle, who was close behind, with one swing of his war club, 
struck the man from his horse; and already he had taken the scalp when the other 
circled back, crying: "Cousin, they are coming!" 

By now it looked very bad down there in the valley, for the people were boiling 
out of the village like a swarm of bumblebees, and over them a roar of voices grew. 
"Let us get out of here!" cried Good Voice Hawk; and without stopping to coup the 
enemy, he headed down the slope at a run; and after him went the homely warrior 
pounding on his mule. 

They were not very far out in the open country when, looking back, they saw 
many mounted warriors coming out of the pines back yonder, and they were coming 
very fast, because their horses were fresh and strong with plenty of grass. They 
were coming too fast for the mule, and it was beginning to look bad for those who 
fled, when Good Voice Hawk stopped his horse and criedout to his comrade: "Cousin, 
give me the scalp." And the other, who thought' only of the scalp and that it might be 
taken from him, gave it to his comrade, for it was not his way to think bad things of 

Then Brave Eagle was all alone, kicking his mule along; and Good Voice Hawk 
grew smaller, fleeing yonder, and the sound of many hoofs behind grew louder. 

Well, that night the handsome young warrior rode into the camp of his people 
with a scalp to show and a brave story to tell. There were many, many enemies, too 
many for even the whole party to fight; but it was good to hear how Good Voice Hawk 
had fought until his friend was killed. Then he had fled, and only the Great Spirit and 
a fast horse had saved him. 

Thatnight the peopleheard the sound of mourning inRed Hail's tepee- -weeping 
and mourning far into the night; and when the sound ceased, those who still listened 
thought: "The girl has cried herself to sleep at last!" 

But Red Hail had not slept, and when the morning came, she was not there. 
Wherever the people looked, she was not there either. She had just vanished like a 
spirit in the night, and her horse was grazing with the others near the camp. 

Now this is what had happened. While she was weeping in her tepee, Red Hail 
thought more and more, "I must go to see where he died"; and the thought was so big 
by the time her father fell off to sleep, that she went, creeping away into the darkness 
so that not even the horse-guards saw her. 

She was far away when the sun came, and when she had hidden in a clump of 
brush, she prayed that she might be led to where Brave Eagle had died; and then she 
fell asleep. And as she slept, a sacred power from her praying and her sorrow came 
upon her, and in a dream Brave Eagle came to her, alive as ever, and looked at her 

awhile the way he used to do. But there was such a light about him that he was not 
homely any more; and when she awoke, the sun waslow and her heart was very strong. 

So when she had eaten of some roots and rabbit-berries that were growing 
there beside a creek, she started out again and walked all night. Again she slept and 
walked; and the sacred power must have led her, for she came at last to where the 
hoofs of many horses made a trail. It led her up a slope sprinkled with stunted pines, 
and when she reached the top it was beginning to get dark. There just below her in 
the valley was the village of the enemy, and the sound of drums and singing came to 
her; for in the center of the village was a fire and there the people danced as for a 

And now the sacred power came upon Red Hail stronger than ever, and it told 
her that Brave Eagle was yonder in the village waiting to be tortured, So when the 
dark had come, she crawled down the bluff to a creek that ran close to the village, 
and there she sat in the brush awhile, praying that she might know what to do. And as 
she sat she began to sing a little song, very low, the way mothers sing to fretful chil- 
dren in the night. And while she sang, she took a piece of clay and shaped it to the 
singing until it was like a little baby that she swayed and comforted. And as she sang, 
the woman-power to make live and to destroy grew stronger all around her, spreading 
far. And the singing of the victors in the village slowly died away, and the drums 
were still, and even the bugs in the grasses made no sound. 

Then Red Hail placed the baby in a soft bed of grass and arose and went into 
the village. The fire was burning low as though it slept, and round about it in a circle 
lay the dancers, sleeping soundly; and no dog barked. The very ponies that had come 
from grazing in the dark to look upon the singing people in the light stood still as 
stones with noses to the ground. 

There was a tepee yonder, bigger than the others, and Red Hail's power led 
her to it. And when sheraised the flap andlooked inside, there beyond thelittle sleep- 
ing fire in the center she saw Brave Eagle sitting, bound with thongs and sleeping 
soundly with his chin upon his breast. And all around the tepee guards were sitting, 
sleeping soundly with their chins upon their breasts. 

Then Red Hail stepped across the sleeping fire and touched Brave Eagle, and 
he awoke and looked at her the way he used to do, and the light upon his face was the 
same the dream had shown her. 

"I have come for you," she said, "and we are going home." And that was the 
first time she had ever seen him smile. So when she had cut the thongs that bound 
him, Brave Eagle killed the guards with their own war clubs and took their scalps 
with their own knives. 

Then the two went about among the tepees, finding robes well tanned and soft, 
and pretty dresses finely made of elkskin, and moccasins well beaded, and parfleche 
panniers beautifully painted, and many other things to make a home. And these they 
packed upon six of the finest horses that slept with drooping heads till Red Hail 
stroked their noses and told them to awaken. 

Then when they had saddled the two best horses they could find, they rode 
away andleft the village sleeping soundly; and who can say how long the village slept? 


All night they rode, Red Hail ahead, and after her the horses with their packs, and 
after them, Brave Eagle. And they were very far away when daybreak came. 

Now while this was happening, the war party Lad grown weary of looking for 
Red Hail and had gone back home. And when at last the two with the horses and the 
packs came near the village of their people, they camped behind a hill, and peering 
from the top of it, they saw the people dancing yonder as for a victory. 

It was getting dark, and Brave Eagle said to Red Hail: "I will go to see my 
father, and you will watch the horses." So he crawled down the hill and came to a 
little tepee standing all alone outside the village. It was made of ragged hides and it 
was full of mourning. And when he raised the flap, he saw his father and his mother 
and his younger brother sitting there in ragged clothes, with their hair cut off and 
nothing in the tepee but their sorrow, for they had given everything away. 

And when Brave Eagle entered, they thought he was a ghost and just stared at 
him, afraid, until he spoke. And when he had told his story and heard that the people 
were dancing for Good Voice Hawk, his father said: "I will go to Red Hail's father 
and tell him, for he is mourning too and has given everything away. We will say no- 
thing to anyone about this, and in the morning you will come with Red Hail and the 
horses and the packs." 

So Brave Eagle went back to Red Hail there behind the hill. And in the morning 
when the dancing had begun again, some people saw the string of laden horses coming 
yonder with a woman leading them and a warrior in the rear. The dancing ceased and 
all the people stood and stared a while without a word, for they could not yet believe 
they really saw. And round the circle of the village, left to right, rode Red Hail, 
clothed in soft elkskin beautifully beaded, and after her the horses followed with their 
packs, and after them rode Brave Eagle clothed as when he rode away to war. 

Then at last a great cry went up from all the people, and the horses lifted up 
their heads and neighed, and there was great rejoicing. But Good Voice Hawkhad fled. 

Now when the chiefs had called Brave Eagle and Red Hail into the great lodge 
and heard the story, they summoned the akitchitas, who are the keepers of the law 
and have the power of thunder beings. And the head chief said to them: "Find Good 
Voice Hawk wherever he has fled, but do not bring him back." 

Then there was feasting in the village and all the people gave gifts to those 
who had mourned, until they had more than plenty of all good things. 

And when he was still young, Brave Eagle became a wichasha yatapica and 
then a chieftain. And when the two were stooped beneath the snows of many winters 
Red Hail and Brave Eagle were still happy together, for all their daughters were like 
their mother and all their sons were brave. 


/V\ mmm AA 




John T. Montgomery 
Supervisor of Livestock 

The livestock industry is of major importance to Indian people because so 
much of their land is suitable only for grazing. Some areas are fully stocked with 
Indian-owned herds, and others are leased to White operators. Considering the in- 
crease of Indian-owned livestock, it is reasonable to hope that Indian grazing lands 
will be fully utilized by Indians in the not-too-distant future. 

As the numbers of livestock approach the carrying capacity of the lands, high- 
er prices alone can increase the income from livestock. There is no better way to 
bring this about than to improve the product, and programs for the improvement of 
livestock are under way. This project has been given increasing attention since 1931, 
when the Division of Extension and Industry was organized. 

Most of the cattle sold from the ranges in years of average rainfall are classed 
as "feeders" or "stackers". This means simply that the cattle are not fat enough 
for immediate slaughter. They must be sold to operators of feed lots or to someone 
who has good grass on which the cattle may be placed for a time before going into the 
feed lots. It is highly probable that cattle from Indian ranges will continue for a long 
time to sell as feeders, and therefore the production of feeder cattle is the basis of 
the cattle-breeding program. 

Acceleration of the project was made possible by the acquisition of cattle, 
both registered purebreds and grades, under the drouth purchase program of 1934. 
With money supplied from relief funds, 15,399 registered beef cattle, of Hereford, 
Shorthorn, and Aberdeen Angus breeding, were purchased. Of this number, 4, 561 were 
bulls and 10,838 were cows and heifers. They were as widely distributed as avail- 
able grazing would permit, under a plan for repayment in kind. This marked the real 
beginning of a supported effort to improve the type and quality of Indian-owned cattle. 
More progress was made in some areas than in others, which was natural under the 
wide diversity of conditions into which the newly purchased herds were introduced. 
Many of these cattle were more or less emaciated, because the purchase was in part 
a relief measure for operators who were forced to sell a portion of their holdings to 
provide feed for the animals they wished to retain. The cattle, for the most part, did 
well on the reservations. Following the use of the newly acquired bulls, calves showed 
improvement over their mothers, and more careful attention to culling the cow herds 
assisted materially in the production of a more desirable type. 

With this purchase as a beginning, a continuous effort has been made to secure 
better bulls at every succeeding purchase, and it is evident that this planning has re- 
sulted in marked improvement of the reservation herds. Attention to the selection of 
the accepted type of bulls for range use has so greatly improved the heifers born in 
the herds that now the fourth and fifth generations are very acceptable cattle and sell 
at good prices. 

Formerly breeding animals were bought in the manner prescribed by law, 
under Departmental regulations. The cheapest animals offered were purchased, with 
little consideration of their value in obtaining the desired results. Sometimes, under 

Indian herds have been improved by tne purchase of this tamous show cow's progeny 

Photo by Guy E. Smith, Kansas City, Missouri 

such conditions, it was difficult to secure animals capable of improving any herd, 
because they were culls themselves. To permit more effective selection, the stand- 
ard specifications for use in the purchase of cattle were re-written, with clauses on 
suitability for use and provisions for inspection that must be accepted as final. These 
changes have aided the Indians in securing the type and quality of breeding stock 
needed to improve their herds. 

Indian owners of cattle assist in the selection of stock to be purchased, and 
many of them have proved to be competent judges who are not satisfied with animals 
lacking in type, conformation, and breediness. Until ranges became fairly well stocked, 
the owners of cattle retained all the heifers for cows, and even traded steer calves 
for heifers, in order to increase their herds as rapidly as possible, thus indicating 
a sincere desire to build up units that would support families. 

The quality of some of the herds now being developed is indicated by the an- 
nual sale of steer calves to 4-H Club boys and girls for their feeding projects. A 
record of these animals now in the hands of the boys and girls will be of value in fur- 
ther shaping the breeding program a few years hence. Certain critical buyers of feed 
cattle now come to the Indian cattlemen and ask, "What will such and such brands of 
steers cost me this year?" Formerly Indians had to ask bidders to look at their 


Some reservations have become interested in producing their own bulls for 
range use. It was thoroughly understood that such a project might not prove profit- 
able, but owing to peculiarities of climate and range, the Indian cattlemen felt chat 
home-grown bulls would be more serviceable, since these would be bred for the type, 
size, quality, ejtc, which had been most in demand for several years. The desirability 
of operating such breeding herds on reservations is still problematical. A large part 
of the operation must be entrusted to employees, and reckless experimentation may 
easily result in financial losses by the production of a miscellaneous lot of bulls which 
may not serve the purpose. Indian Service employees change location frequently, and 
it is not always possible to get men who can successfully manage such a herd. When 
Indian operators themselves become able to handle such a business, it may be under- 
taken with a greater degree of confidence. 

Breeding herds for the production of bulls are established at San Carlos, Fort 
Apache, Mescalero, and Papago. The ultimate sizes of these herds will depend upon 
their successful operation. San Carlos may need about 1200 registered cows, Fort 
Apache 800 cows, Mescalero 350 to 400 cows, and the size of the herd at Papago will 
depend upon available range. 

A good herd bull whose blood lines have been included in Indian cattle purchases Photo Guy E. Smith 



In order to avail themselves of the use of outstanding bulls, San Carlos and 
Fort Apache are artificially inseminating the cows of their registered herds. This 
plan requires a properly equipped laboratory and the employment of a well-trained 
operator, but it has some advantages. About ten times the normal number of calves 
may be sired by one outstanding bull, if the cows are artificially inseminated. If the 
herd bulls are selected wisely, four or five are all that will be needed for a 1200 cow 
herd, whereas by natural breeding 30 to 40 will be required, with a fenced pasture 
for each herd of 30 to 40 cows. To date, results have been fairly satisfactory. 

Proper feeding of the calves is a difficult task in itself, and no matter how 
well bred a calf may be, it must have feed of the proper kinds and quantities for the 
full development of its inherent qualities. If a calf is not properly fed, no one can be 
certain that it has the desired possibilities, and hence proper selection cannot be 

The best of the heifer calves are selected each year for replacements in the 
herd. If half of them are better than some cows in the herd and so take their places, 
the annual replacement will be about 25 per cent, so that on the average, the herd will 
be renewed in four years. But this does not actually happen, because some 25 per 
cent of the cows are so good that they are not culled, remaining in the herd as long 
as they produce good calves. As the herd progresses, improvement becomes more 
difficult, the use of bulls must be shifted, and occasionally a new sire of known breed- 
ing ability may be added. Both methods are followed, but in the case of a large herd 
it may be better to introduce new blood by the purchase of a cow or two of known 
producing ability. 

Because the horse is an individual possession and because the trend is gen- 
erally toward farming by power, no general program of horse breeding is planned. 
Pine Ridge has aprogram to breed suitable mounts for cattle work and to raise, from 
heavier native mares, a horse that can handle haying machinery, do light wagon duty, 
and move hay to the cattle in the winter. 

The work on sheep and wool improvement is led by the Southwestern Range 
and Sheep-breeding Laboratory, where types of sheep with the ability to graze dry 
ranges and produce wool suitable for hand-weaving are being developed. 

Good lightweight cattle off to feeder yards 

Painter s Domino C 366, chief sire, San Carlos herd 





R. G. Fister 
Supervisor of Credit 

The top rail of a corral is as good a place as any to get initiated. That is 
where I first saw a repayment animal. It was in 1934, on a Montana reservation when 
I was substituting for the Extension Agent who couldn't be in three places at once. I 
had a hat full of names and numbers, and the corral was full of cattle. Twenty head 
would be cut out on call, then the name drawn from the hat would be read, and the 
proud possessor of a new herd would sign a contract to pay for those cattle, not in 
cash but in kind- -animal for animal. Thus, on many reservations throughout the coun- 
try, the Repayment Cattle Program began. No one ventured to guess whose idea it 
was or the purpose of it. 

Later that year, when I was transferred to the Indian Office in Washington, I 
soon discovered that this repayment cattle program wasn't just an idea. It was a 
plan of the Extension Division--a program with bothan immediate objective and long- 
range vision. The first and immediate objective was to save a large part of the coun- 
try's breeding stock in drouth- stricken areas; the second, to provide foundation herds 
for Indians. In short the justification presented to the Federal Surplus Relief Cor- 
poration and the Department of Agriculture went something like this: "The Indians 
in many areas have feed. Turn the cattle and money to purchase cattle in drouth- 
stricken areas over to the Indian Service for a cattle pool. We will save the cattle by 
shipping them to feed, and contract them to Indians on a repayment- in-kind basis. 
When feed is again available on reservations in drouth- stricken areas, we will ship 
the cattle, as they are repaid, to those areas so that all reservations may participate 
in the program. Later as the cattle revolve, all Indians desiring a start in the cattle 
business will be given an opportunity to receive cattle, provided they have sufficient 
feed, water, and shelter, and can demonstrate sincerity of purpose." 

The Comptroller General of the United States in an opinion of October 3, 1935, 
said in part: 

"The plan thus was to encourage Indians to raise purebred cattle by 
maintaining in Government ownership the number of cattle originally 
purchased, through exchanging mature animals for yearlings, and 
allocating and reallocating its supply so as to assist the greatest 
number of Indians equipped to participate." 

In spite of some mistakes by all concerned, some losses, and skepticism 
shared by everyone who had a working knowledge of the old reimbursable system, 
the program has contributed much to the progress made in the Indian livestock busi- 
ness. It is a kind of credit understood from the beginning by the Indians and fits well 
into their way of transacting business. It is a type of credit not particularly affected 
by market conditions. The price may be up or down. What is owed for an animal 
acquired by loan is another animal of like age and quality, and the market value makes 
little difference when the time comes to pay off the loan. But let a borrower have a 
loan of $100 today to buy a cow, and then try to explain to him why it takes two cows 
to pay for one on a $50 market, and why his herd isn't building up! 

Branding Navajo and Hopi stock at Coal Mine Mesa 

Photo Milton snow, wavajo Service 

This program got under way with about 40,000 head of cattle. Over 60,000 
have been repaid and recontracted to other Indians. Some 12,000 have been trans- 
ferred to reservations that originally were unableto participate in the program. Thus, 
Indians have received under this type of credit during the past 10 years over 100,000 
head of cattle. More than 10,000 individual Indians on 58 jurisdictions have partici- 
pated in the repayment cattle program up to this time. During the same period, 
through a combination of this in-kind credit and cash credit furnished through revolv- 
ing credit and other funds, Indian cattle increased from 183,700 in- 1933 to 395,450 at 
the close of 1943. The income from all livestock and livestock products increased 
during the same period from $1,224,500 to $13,968,000. (Sheep and goats during the 
same period decreased materially in numbers.) It will be noted elsewhere in this 
issue that the improved quality of Indian cattle had a great deal to do with the in- 
creased income. The contribution of the Indian livestock business to the nation's 
meat supply is self-evident. 


One of the more important results of this progress in the livestock business 
is the increase in the Indians' use of their main resource, land. The 211,750 head 
increase over a period of 10 years required the use of much more grazing land and 
also farm land to produce forage. 

Since many tribes are making loans to their members, it seems only natural 
that they should also make loans of repayment cattle along with cash loans. During 
the past several years about 16 tribes have adopted the repayment cattle program. 
That is, the tribes make a contract with the Government to repay the cattle in 10 to 
15 years, and then loan the cattle to members. In general the tribes loan the cattle 
in units of 10 head and require 11 head in repayment for each 10 head loaned. This 
extra animal takes the place of interest and gives the tribe a reserve for losses. If 
the losses are held to a minimum, the interest payments permit expansion of the pro- 
gram. Many tribes have purchased additional cattle with their own funds and have 
added them to their revolving cattle program. For instance, the Indians of the Chey- 
enne River Reservation owe the United States 1,920 head, but individuals owe the 
tribe 4,696 head. The difference is the tribe's equity, made up of purchases plus 
some interest payments. These tribes now have 20,000 head loaned to individual 
members, of which number 15,000 are owing to the United States. Before these cattle 
are repaid to the United States, they will have helped hundreds of families to obtain a 
good start in the cattle business. 

Most of these tribes also have cash revolving-loan funds. Individuals who 
wish to go into the cattle business or increase their herds to an economic unit are 
granted a combination cash-and-cattle loan. Ratios which are not necessarily rigid 
are established. The policy is to loan each family a large enough number to create 
the necessary interest and to provide as nearly as possible an economic unit. Each 
case, of course, must be considered on its own merits. A typical loan includes cash 
for the purchase of 20 head of bred cows, or cows with calves, together with a bull or 
two and 30 yearling heifers payable in kind. The cash portion is scheduled to be paid 
first and the in-kind payments thereafter. This combination produces revenue during 
the first year of operation for expenses and subsistence, plus small payments on the 
loan. At the same time the heifers are growing into productive units. The sooner 
the cash portion of the loan is paid, the better the protection afforded the borrower 
against declining markets. The in-kind payments act as a cushion against falling 
prices and may well make the difference between staying in business, with a means 
of livelihood for the family, and bankruptcy with its devastating results. 

Going to town 

Trail herd 




Charles G. Young 
Supervisor of Rehabilitation 

The pioneer, with only a little money and a few possessions, invaded the West 
in search of a place to establish his home, and located his homestead in the Indians' 
native domain. He broke the virgin soil, fenced, built his house with sod or with the 
nearby timber, and began to raise crops. To some extent he hunted, fished, and 
gathered food from the fields and forests as did the Indian; but he differed from the 
Indian on two important points. Because he owned the land, he stayed on it more or 
less permanently, and because of his conception of a competitive society, he tried to 
accumulate wealth. 

The Indian, as a rule, did not understand the ways of the pioneer. He depend- 
ed, as had his ancestors, mainly upon the field, the forest, and the stream for his 
needs. Because nature supplied him with most of his livelihood, his cultivation of the 
land was limited. He had only to harvest, and he did not always understand why the 
white man planted and cultivated strange grain when almost everything needed could 
be had for the taking. He did not understand the white man's conception of the owner- 
ship of land or his struggle for economic independence. The Plains Indian did not 
understand the white man s idea of a permanent home, because the Indian hunter was 
nomadic, following the game as it moved. 

Very soon, however, the Indian realized what the coming of the pioneer meant. 
He found himself confined to limited areas, forced to adopt a new mode of living. 

The Indian of today has a better understanding of the white man's way of life. 
He has a desire to be more like his neighbors, to have a better home, to educate his 
children. Unfortunately he cannot imitate the early American pioneer in choosing a 
fertile spot practically anywhere in the land. He must use the limited resources of 
the reservation open to him. Nor will the simple tools of the pioneer fill the need of 
an Indian who today begins farming. He must have modern machinery. He must learn 
intensive and specialized farming, and livestock management. He must learn to plan, 
to work efficiently, and to appreciate new values. 

He must borrow money to construct or to repair buildings, to drill wells, to 
purchase livestock and machinery, and to pay his expenses until his operations are 
producing. It is not always possible for him to obtain a loan for the operations he 
has planned, even under the liberal terms of the Revolving Credit Fund established 
by Congress through the Reorganization Act. In many cases his earnings will not 
enable him to repay the loan and to make a living for his family. Unless he can secure 
supplemental aid, he must abandon his plans. It is the main purpose of the Rehabili- 
tation Section of the Extension Division to supply supplemental aid so that the Indian 
may become sufficiently well established to be eligible for credit assistance. 

The Indian Rehabilitation Program was initiated in February, 1936, when the 
Office of Indian Affairs received funds from Emergency Relief appropriations to help 
the Indians through the drouth and depression years. Because of their low economic 
status, the impact of this period probably caused greater hardship among the Indians 
than among the white farmers. 

This Indian house was repaired arid remodeled, with good results 

As a result of the program, over 1400 Indian families, which were largely 
dependent on Government gratuities for all or part of their living, have been given the 
opportunity to engage in economically sound enterprises. Through the coordinated 
efforts of the Rehabilitation Section and the other facilities of the Extension Division, 
approximately 900 of these families are now making use of new homes and farm build- 
ings constructed on land formerly unimproved. Previously a considerable portion of 
this land had been leased to non-Indian operators. Some 250 families are now start- 
ing in livestock production, with good breeding .stock purchased with Rehabilitation 
and Revolving credit funds and released through the revolving cattle program. In 
addition to the assistance given to these Indians in establishing their enterprises, 
many hundreds of other Indian families, operating small farms or livestock herds, 
have been helped to improve or expand their operations by the repair or construction 
of buildings, fences, water supplies, etc. 

The ho me- improvement program serves oneof the greatestneeds of the Indian. 
The average Indian home is well below the standard of the low- income White popu- 
lation. Since the beginning of the depression in 1930 the construction and repair of 
Indian homes, even with the help of Federal funds, has fallen far below the normal 
needs. On many Indian reservations Indian families live in tents, huts, and shacks, 
many of which are without floors and windows and are wholly unfit for human habi- 
tation. Living in crowded, poorly lighted and poorly ventilated shacks directly affects 
the health, mental development, and home life of the Indian families, and tends to 
frustrate the Health, Education, and Extension programs. 

The need for assisting Indian women has not been overlooked. Community 
projects designed primarily for the housewife have been financed under this program. 
Materials, supplies, and equipment for sewing have been furnished; the number, as 
well as the acreage, of home gardens has been increased greatly; facilities for can- 
ning and preserving fruits and vegetables in the home and for storing root crops have 
been supplied, thus improving the Indian diet in the winter months. Community wel- 
fare has also been encouraged through the construction of community buildings to 
house canning kitchens, sewing rooms, and club rooms for social and educational 

The rehabilitation program has not only provided assistance of lasting value 
to many families, but it has also contributed to the welfare of the Indians through 
wages paid under the construction program and through training in skilled trades 
which are now proving useful in war plants. The living conditions of many indigent 

Indians have been improved considerably through grants for home construction or 
repairs, sanitary facilities, and water supplies. In numerous cases where these peo- 
ple are physically able to care for milk cows, pigs, and chickens, or to cultivate a 
home garden, they are aided in obtaining such means for better living. 

Although the families which have been assisted under the rehabilitation pro- 
gram are numbered in the thousands, a recent survey of 9,715 families on eleven 
reservations shows that 73 per cent are in need of new or improved housing. Sixteen 
per cent of these families are living with relatives or friends because they do not 
have homes of their own or the means of acquiring them. This makes it obvious that 
the total need for improvement of Indian homes has been diminished only slightly 
through the rehabilitation work. 

The Government has spent many millions of dollars to provide the Indians 
with additional land, to improve the land, to create new sources of credit, to provide 
a system of communicationby means of roads, to develop Indian industries and crafts, 
and to conserve and develop natural resources through forestry, range management, 
extension, and CCC-ID work. Nevertheless, without such aid as may be extended 
through the Rehabilitation Section, the task of teaching the Indians to make the proper 
use of the land is greatly delayed, if not rendered impossible. 

Hopi sheepmen 
cull their flocks 


Milton Snow 
Navajo Service 

ivkijffli'i .l 




Albert Huber, Assistant Director 
Division of Extension and Industry 

No people can prosper in the modern world except by the work of men and 
machines. Capital is necessary to acquire the machines and to make the work of 
men effective. 

Until the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934, the Indian was 
without an adequate source of capital. Perhaps the main reason for his poor econ- 
omic condition, and one of the chief reasons for the loss of his land, was the failure 
of the Government to supply the Indian with an adequate source of credit. Because 
the Indian was not taught how to operate efficiently under the prevailing economic 
system, and because capital was not supplied to develop the land and put it into pro- 
duction, it was sold. The Indian did not usually recognize that the land was his. The 
dollars for which it could be exchanged and which would supply his immediate wants, 
seemed far more desirable than the land itself. Had the Government early supplied 
the Indian with a source of capital and taught him how to use his land effectively, his 
economic condition today would probably be entirely different. 

Failure to supply the Indian with a source of credit seems particularly re- 
markable when it is realized that the basis of a sound credit system was to be found 
in the Indian's own economy. Little, if any, effort was made to build upon that basis. 
Gifts and ceremonial exchanges afforded a means of distributing commodities among 
Indians. Ceremonial feasts, given by one chief or clan to another, represented a type 
of credit, as acceptance of an invitation to such a feast presupposed a return in the 
form of a grander feast. Such customs could not have existed effectively without a 
prevailing concept of fair dealing, good faith, and observance of the time element in 
repayment. Examples of complex credit systems can be found--even with provisions 
for the repayment of interest. Among some groups, one loaning five blankets for a 
"few moons" required repayment of six. Young men sometimes obtained their start 
in life by borrowing blankets at interest and loaning them to others at higher rates. 

When the revolving credit fund was established by the Indian Reorganization 
Act, and regulations for lending of the funds were formulated, efforts were made to 
build upon the Indian conception of credit, and records show how successful those 
efforts have been. 


Beginning in 1908, meager provisions for credit were made on certain reserva- 
tions, but it was not until 1911 that thefirst general appropriation was made--$30,000. 
Beginning in 1914, and continuing through 1943, credit appropriations were made 
annually. The amounts were nearly always inadequate, and repayments reverted to 
the Treasury. Even if an Indian repaid promptly, he could not be assured of continued 
financing in subsequent years. Debt limitations made successful operations almost 
impossible. Underf inane ing was the rule. A flat surcharge of five per cent was added 
toloans in lieu of interest, a system which penalized the borrower who repaid prompt- 
ly. Indian opinion was not consulted in the granting of loans. Very little planning was 
done in connection with loans, and often, as the records indicate, it was not made 
clear to the borrower that he was receiving a loan and not a grant. 


When the revolving credit system was established, its policies were extended 
to loans from these funds, with good results. This action, however, could not remedy 
the situation which had developed in the matter of old loans. Through June 30, 1944, 
a total of $7,732,200 had been appropriated for these loans, of which $7,022,571.94 
had been expended; $353,555.92 cancelled; $4,271,627.91 repaid; and $2,397,388.11 
remained outstanding, a good part of it delinquent. Approximately 73 per cent of the 
amount outstanding was on loans made from 1911 through 1935; and of the amount 
cancelled, 99 per cent was on loans made during the same period. A large loss will 
be suffered by the Government on these loans. The record of loans made since 1935, 
like that of the loans from the revolving credit fund, is very much better. 


The second type of financing made available to Indians was from tribal funds 
authorized by Congress as revolving funds. Through June 30, 1944, ninety authori- 
zations were made, totaling $3,494,106.91. All but three of these funds have been 
authorized since 1929. Tribal approval is required on loans made from these funds, 
and repayments become available for additional loans. Expenditures of $4,425,430.62 
havebeen made fromthese authorizations, of which the sum of $2,570,352.55 has been 
repaid. As of June 30, 1944, there was an outstanding balance of $1,639,018.84 in the 
authorizations, with $1,852,578.07 outstanding in loans. Many tribes now use their 
tribal funds in conjunction with revolving credit funds authorized by the Indian Reor- 
ganization Act, and this type of loan has proved successful. Many groups, however, 
have no tribal funds. 


Adequate financing became available to Indians for the first time when the 
first appropriation was made for the revolving fund authorized by the Indian Reorgani- 
zation Act of 1934. Loans at that time were restricted to Indian chartered corpora- 
tions. Then, in 1936, the Oklahoma General Welfare Act was passed, authorizing loans 
to individual Indians, Indian associations, and corporate groups in Oklahoma. Corpor- 
ations in Alaska became eligible for loans in the same year by virtue of the Alaska 
Act. A large number of Indians and tribes still were ineligible to share the benefits 
of the fund after these acts were passed, and in 1943, Congress remedied this situa- 
tion by making $600,000 of the revolving fund available to Indians and Indian organi- 
zations otherwise ineligible for loans. 

Loans are made by the United States to Indian chartered corporations, unin- 
corporated tribes and bands, credit associations, individuals, and cooperative asso- 
ciations of Indians. Corporations and tribes may use funds borrowed from the United 
States for the operation of corporate or tribal business enterprises, and to make loans 
to members or associations of members. Credit associations may make loans only 
to individual members. No set pattern is followed in making loans. In some places 
resources can best be utilized by financing a tribal enterprise; in others, cooperative 
associations are preferable; and in some instances individual loans are most effec- 
tive. The type of loan made depends upon the enterprise to be financed and the way 
in which the Indians wish to operate. 

There are two distinct cycles in revolving credit fund operations. Loans are 
made by the United States, and as repayments are made they become available for 
further loans by the United States. This is the first cycle. When corporations, tribes, 


and credit associations receive loans from the United States, they make loans, which 
upon repayment become available for further loans by the corporation, tribe, or 
association. This is the second cycle. 

Through June 30, 1944, the total amount authorized for the revolving credit 
fund was $12,000,000, of which $4,428,400 had been appropriated for loans. The 
United States had made commitments totaling $7,631,712.48, of which $5,533,082.48 
was advanced. Of this amount, $2,532,798.23 had been repaid. A total of $2,746.13 
on this large volume was cancelled, leaving $2,997,538.13 owing, of which $20,371.69 
was delinquent. In addition to these funds, corporations were using $464,930.18 of 
tribal funds in their credit operations. 

Although only $2,997,538.13 was owing to the revolving fund, and $464,930.18 
to tribal funds, the second cycle showed that $8,538,796.62 had been committed, of 
which $7,147,166.61 had been advanced. Of this amount, 28.79 per cent was for cor- 
porate and tribal enterprises, 63.93 per cent for individual loans, and 7.28 per cent 
for cooperative association loans. A balance of $1,228,668.05 was owing by corporate 
and tribal enterprises, $260,616.70 by cooperative associations, and $1,773,208.03 on 
individual loans. The repayment record of individual loans shows continual improve- 
ment, as indicated by the following table. 


Per Cent Delinquent 









When the revolving credit system was inaugurated, loans were first passed 
upon by the tribe, then by the superintendent, and finally either by the district credit 
agent or by the Commissioner. All loans over $1,000 required the Commissioner's 
approval. Very strict procedures were necessary in order to break away entirely 
from the sterile system which had operated since 1911. Gradually procedures have 
been liberalized. At the present time only loans of over $3,000 require the Commis- 
sioner's approval, and most superintendents have final approval authority on loans 

Cannery at Hydaburg, 
Alaska, constructed 
and operated with re- 
volving credit funds 


up to $500. In some cases final approval authority has been delegated to the tribes. 
The goal, of course, is eventually to delegate final approval authority on all loans to 
the tribes. Before this can be done in all cases, additional educational work is neces- 
sary. Most of the tribes have assumed their responsibility for loans in a creditable 
manner. They realize that the economic welfare of their members depends upon 
efficient utilization of the reservation resources, and that capital is required to de- 
velop and operate such resources. Unless this capital is protected and maintained by 
strict adherence to repayment schedules, the economic development of the tribe will 
be endangered. 

The revolving credit system is based upon two sound principles: (a) Indian 
participation; (b) economic planning. The majority of loans are made to Indian organ- 
izations by the United States, and these organizations make loans to their members. 
As the governing bodies of these organizations are well acquainted with their mem- 
bers, they know who will work, who will use capital effectively in productive enter- 
prises, who can benefit from a loan. No Government officer can approve a loan by an 
Indian organization to one of its members until the application is first acted upon 
favorably by the organization. Perhaps one of the main reasons for the good repay- 
ment record on revolving credit loans is collective responsibility for repayment. 

Most Indians do not have adequate security to offer for loans, and economic 
planning is substituted for security in such cases. Each application requires data 
regarding probable income from the financed enterprise, living and operating expen- 
ses, and the balance of money available for payment of indebtedness. Development 
and utilization of reservation resources require effective planning, and the results of 
the revolving credit program during thefew years it has been in operation demonstrate 
that planning provides a sound basis for a credit system among Indians. 

The enterprises financed are predominantly agricultural because of the nature 
of Indian-owned resources; but loans are not confined to agricultural projects. Inlhe 
Lake States, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska, loans for fishing predominate. At 
Hydaburg, Alaska, a salmon cannery was constructed and is being operated with re- 
volving credit funds. In remote areas of Alaska, trading posts are financed, and 
around these the entire economy of the natives revolves. Tourist cabins in Wisconsin, 
an oyster culture enterprise in the Pacific Northwest, a tribal water system in one 
area, have been financed. Any enterprise in which the Indians can use capital to ad- 
vantage is eligible for assistance. 

Sound business methods and practices are taught in connection with all enter- 
prises, and Extension workers assist the Indian organizations in supervising and 
following up loans. Until the Indians have had more experience and training in credit 
administration, continuance of this assistance is necessary to keep the system on a 
sound basis. This supervision and follow-up work will be relaxed as soon as the 
Indian organizations are trained to take over full responsibility. 

The revolving credit fund, supplemented by tribal funds where available, is 
supplying capital to make the work of the Indians effective. Whether or not the fund 
will be adequate for all their financing needs as the demand increases, is open to 
question; but it does take care of their immediate needs. The revolving credit fund 
has supplied the Indians with the mechanism necessary to enable them to prosper in 
the modern world, and as the record shows, this has been accomplished with a mini- 
mum risk to the United States. 




Henrietta K. Burton 
Supervisor of Home Extension Work 

When Abraham Lincoln signed a bill establishing agricultural schools in this 
country, he said: 

"There will come, after all who live today are gone, young men and women 
upon whose strong shoulders rests the greatest responsibility of this nation. Feeding 
cattle until they grow sleek and fat, hoeing corn, sowing wheat, splitting rails... In 
schools where agriculture is taught as a profession. ..American boys and girls may 
learn the skill of growing heavy-headed wheat and tall corn... may be taught the tech- 
nique of raising the finest beef and pork for the larders of the United States." 

The work of the 4-H Clubs--a system of rural youth education for living that 
is not duplicated elsewhere in the world-- is based on the realization that the training 
of youth molds the attitudes and ideals of maturity. Supplementing the classroom 
teaching of the schools with experience in agriculture andhomemaking,and with social 
training through group activities, these clubs of farm young people have acquired a 
place of unique importance in modern America. 

In 1944, more than 1,200,000 boys andgirls were enrolled in 4-H Clubs. There 
are already, after a period of 25 years, 12 million alumni. From 1933 to 1944, about 
5,100 Indian boys and girls were enrolled each year. The eleven-year total is 55,749. 

In the national 4-H Clubs are boys and girls from all types of farm families, 
sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and owners. These young people have worked and 
played with the Indian boys and girls, and have formed friendships with them. They 
have developed leadership together. On the reservations, as in other parts of Amer- 
ica, former club members are now taking their part in local, state, and national 

Right, Eva Mae Morrison, Kiowa, with her 
Jersey heifer which placed in the 4-H Club 
exhibits. Below, Wilhelma Rutherford, out- 
standing 4-H Sheep Club member, Blackfeet 


Into the ranks of the armed forces have marched 750,000 former 4-HClub 
members, among them the Indian boys and girls. They meet in 4-H Club reunions 
around the world. "Some of the best fun I've had in the Service has been at the State 
reunions of the 4-H Clubs in the camps," said an Indian boy. "We sit around and all 
get homesick singing the 4-H Club songs. We spend a lot of time talking about how we 
are going to grow better crops andbetter cattle in our states when we getback home." 

The Indian 4-H Club work is promoted as a part of the great national move- 
ment. The Indian boys and girls choose the projects suited to their needs and to the 
available resources of the reservation: clothing, food, and canning for the girls, gar- 
dens and poultry for both boys and girls, crops, livestock, and dairy work. Unless 
the distances are great and special clubs must be organized on the reservation, the 
Indian boys and girls enroll in the established groups. Many all-Indian clubs are 
working on Food for Freedom programs this year. 

That the projects are successfully carried to completion is shown by the fact 
that in ten years 5,956 County Prizes and 654 State prizes were awarded to Indian 

In several states special projects, largely in arts and crafts, have been ap- 
proved. Excellent work was done in Maricopa pottery, Zuni silverwork and pottery, 
Chippewa basketry in birchbark, Apache beaded baskets, Uintah andOuray earth color 
paintings, and Yakima corn husk bags. During the war, some of these have been de- 
ferred in favor of projects directly connected with the war effort. But many organi- 
zations and individuals are helping the Indian children to get the supplies necessary 
for their projects. School, church, and missionary workers have sponsored the pro- 
gram. On several jurisdictions the church schools have prepared special work-shop 
rooms at the meeting places for the 4-H Club members. In Wisconsin, the General 
Federation of Women's Clubs arranged to supply materials needed for the work. 

On the Blackfeet Reservation, the Tribal Council has for two 
years sponsored a trip to the National 4-H Club Congress in Chica- 
go for the winner of the Achievement Prize. The 1944 winner was 
Archie St. Goddard, age 17, whose father has a cattle ranch on Little 
Badger Creek. Four years ago Archie started the beef-breeding 
4-H Club project, with one calf. At the Blackfeet 4-H Club Achieve- 
ment Fair last fall, he led a heifer in the parade and also exhibited 
eight cows and a bull. He won the first prize, a registered Hereford 
bull, and the TribalCouncil senthim to Chicago for the 23rd National 
4-H Club Congress. That trip to Chicago! Archie's words were: 
"This has been some trip! When I get to be an old, old man, I'll 
still be thinking of it and I'll still be thanking everyone that helped 
me win it and especially the Tribal Council who sponsored it. I wish 
some of the other tribal councils would sponsor 4-H Club trips. 
There are many Indian boys and girls who could learn a lot from 
such an advantage. I was a little lonesome for some other Indian 

Archie thinks that his brother, who is in the South Pacific, 
has- -like millions of our fighting men — a man's appetite for good 
cuts of beef. Therefore, much beef must be produced for the armed 
forces by the Montana ranches, and Archie and others like him, 
through the 4-H Club work, are doing their best to meet this urgent 



Farming activities of the Indians fall into three main classes: the production 
of forage for their main industry, the raising of livestock; the production of cash 
crops;and gardening. These activities are conductedon both irrigated and dry-farmed 


The livestock industry of the Indians is carried on under practically all the 
climatic and geographical conditions of the nation, in Florida, southern Arizona, and 
California, as well as in northern Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana. In the south- 
ern and southwestern states, where the climate is mild, little attentionhas to be given 
to the. storage of feed, and forage production is stressed mainly through development 
of the necessary pastures. In the northern states, forage production for winter feed 
is the critical factor. When the winters are light, livestock sometimes can graze 
practically the entire year with little supplemental feed. But light winters are not the 
rule, and a succession of such winters might mean drouth during the growing season. 
Only by building up adequate feed reserves can the livestock industry be protected. 

In 1933, the Indians harvested about 195,000 acres of forage crops. Ten years 
later, in 1943, the acreage had increased to 355,700. The production of forage has 
not quite kept pace with the growth of the livestock industry, but it has increased re- 
markably. Most forage harvested by Indians is used in their own livestock enter- 
prises, only a minor portion being sold for cash. 


With the exception of certain items such as cotton in Oklahoma and Arizona, 
potatoes in Idaho, fruit in southern California, flax in Montana and the Dakotas, and 
wheat in the wheat-belt states, cash crops are less important among Indians than 
among Whites, as the Indians look largely to their livestock for cash income- 

In 1933, the Indians planted approximately 274,000 acres of various cereal 
crops, a large part of which were sold for cash. By 1943 the acreage had increased 
to 370,000. Other crops totaled 29,000 in 1933, and rose to 70,000 acres in 1943. 


The Victory Garden campaign, since the beginning of the war, has shown clearly 
how large a part of a family's living can come from a small plot of ground. Since the 
Extension Division was first organized, the importance of gardening has been empha- 
sized, along with the canning, drying, and storing of garden produce for the unproduc- 
tive winter months. 

A large part of the gardening on reservations is done by Indian women and 
children, and the work has shown continued progress. In 1933, about 27.000 Indian 
families made gardens. In 1943, the number had increased to almost 34,000. and the 
gardens grown today show greatly increased yields. In 1933, about 530,000 quarts of 
produce were canned and 800,000 pounds stored. In 1943, about 3,500.000 quarts were 
canned, 1,600,000 pounds were dried, and about 13,350,000 pounds of various products 
were stored. 

A group of Indian boys compute the tonnage of a haystack. Carson Agency, Nevada. 


The agricultural efforts of the Indians have shown accelerated progress since 
the war. One would suppose that with the great exodus of Indians from the reserva- 
tions to war industries and to the armed services, agricultural production would have 
shown a decline. The opposite has proved to be true. The Indians have responded 
whole-heartedly to the call of their country for increased agricultural production. 
They have made valuable contributions to the food stockpiles of the nation, and have 
produced more of their own food than ever before. In 1941, the total value of agri- 
cultural products raised by the Indians was estimated at $19,297,000. In 1943, the 
estimated value was $27,442,000. In 1941, the total value of agricultural products 
marketed by the Indians was estimated at $12,985,000. In 1943, the estimated value 
was$19,077,000. Although higher marketprices account for a portionof this increase, 
greater efforts on the part of the Indians are clearly indicated. 

As the record shows, Indians, with the help of Extension workers, are success- 
fully making the transition from an extensive to an intensive type of agriculture. 



(As reported by workers of the Division of Extension and Industry) 

Tucked away in an isolated corner of the Carson Valley at the foot of the 
Sierra Nevada Range is a small group of Indians belonging to the Washoe Tribe. The 
history of the Washoe Indians shows that they possessed considerable culture; their 
language, their basketry, noted for excellent finish and refinement of decorative treat- 
ment, and other attainments set them apart from the surrounding Great Basin bands. 
Early history also records that these people were conquered by neighboring Indian 
tribes, which imposed humiliating economic sanctions. The land allotted them by the 
Government in later years was largely waste land with no water. By 1910, their num- 
ber had dwindled from an estimated 1500 to 300; their summer hunting grounds a- 
round Lake Tahoe were largely appropriated for white use, their fishing resources 
were depleted and all but destroyed, and their staple food, the pine nut (Tagum), was 
threatened with extinction because the trees were cut down for fuel and for mine props 
in the Virginia City and Gold Canyon districts. 

For a number of years the Washoes living in this particular area occupied a 
rocky, worthless forty acres of land known as the Dresslerville Colony. From this 
homesite they went out to make a livelihood by working on state highways, helping at 
the Lake Tahoe resorts, and as itinerant laborers.on farms and ranches in the vicin- 
ity. A few made attempts at gardening, and the families employed by white ranchers 
in the Carson Valley were allowed garden privileges. All families gathered pine nuts 
for food and for sale. Deer were killed in season, and jack-rabbits constituted a very 
important source of meat supply. On the whole, the Washoes managed to eke out a 
living, although their tribal slogan, "l-e' mlu-ce" (let us eat), was perhaps without 
much meaning during these years. 

Early in 1938, under the Indian Reorganization Act, the tribe acquired title to 
two White-owned ranches, totalling 795 acres, adjacent to the 40 acres which the Wa- 
shoes occupied. Then, encouraged and aided by workers of the Division of Extension 
and Industry, they applied for a loan of $10,000 from the "Revolving Fund for Loans 
to Indians and Indian Corporations", to pay for machinery, equipment, livestock, seed, 
and labor. This gave them their first opportunity to apply the knowledge gained as 
hired agricultural laborers on White-owned ranches to the production of wheat, po- 
tatoes, milk, sheep, hogs, alfalfa hay, barley, and oats for themselves. 

The Washoes had never been an agricultural tribe, and, except for working 
for white farmers, had almost no experience in producing food; but everyone went to 
work. The former owner of one of the acquired ranches was hired by the tribe to act 
as manager during the first crop season. The chairman of the Tribal Council was 
chosen to be sub-foreman under the manager, and another Indian member was selec- 
ted as dairyman. The Tribal Council, the manager, and the Extension Agent mapped 
out a farm plan for the season's operations. Eight acres were set aside for family 
gardening, and on this acreage 22 families had unusually fine gardens--the first on 
their own land. Management problems, such as financing large-scale farming opera- 
tions, planning crop rotations, the production and marketing of commercial milk, 
lambs, wool, and hogs, were all new to the Washoes; but they were willing to work 
and to accept the responsibilities that went with such an enterprise. 

From the fall of 1938 until December of 1943, the Washoe farming and live- 
stock operations were carried on under the supervision of one of the Carson Agency 
farm agents, who carefully directed activities and constantly encouraged the Indians 
to assume more and more managerial responsibilities. 

Part of the Washoe Ranch 

Harvesting the potato crop 

A Washoe haystack 

Under this arrangement the Washoes made real progress in utilizing the lands 
purchased for them by the Federal Government. The dairy herd increased rapidly in 
numbers; the monthly butterfat check of the enterprise soon doubled, then trebled; 
their hogs, wool, and lambs brought good market prices and sizeable returns; their 
Russet potato and Elberta peach offerings were eagerly sought after. The Washoes 
were on their way, and not withstanding heavy flood damage in 1938 and in 1939, by 
June 30, 1943, the Council notified the Superintendent of the Carson Agency that the 
tribe, through its enterprise earnings, was not only ready to pay off its reimbursable 
indebtedness, incurred before credit was available, but also wished to retire in full 
all the notes signed in connection with advances of revolving credit funds by the Gov- 
ernment. The last installment of $2500 on the Government loan was paid in full, 
three years and eleven months ahead of schedule. 

Before acquiring the ranches, the Washoes had no experience witha corporate 
enterprise. Yet as of October 31, 1944, about six years after they applied for the 
loan, the tribal balance sheet for the Washoe Tribe showed a surplus of $13,222.36, 
in addition to livestock valued at $6,873 and equipment valued at $3,665, 

Not long ago the Washoes had occasion to revive one of their old tribal cus- 
toms concerning organization and leadership. In earlier days, the title "Peleu-leive- 
tiyeh" (Chief of the Rabbit Hunt) was conferred upon their leader of the chase. In the 
spring of 1944, because of a shortage of Extension personnel, it was necessary to take 
the farm agent away from the Washoe project; but the Washoes now understood the 
principles and responsibilities of a corporate enterprise, and were ready for such a 
move. They revived the old title "Peleu-leive-tiyeh", and one of their tribal mem- 
bers was chosen to take over the managerial duties as foreman and director of the 
Washoe Corporate Enterprise. 

Their choice proved a good one. A recent report states that the Indian man- 
ager "has fully demonstrated during the past season that he is equal to the occasion, 
as he is doing a splendid job in managing the various agricultural activities involved 
in the enterprise." At the end of each month he checks his accounts at the Agency 
office, reviews the enterprise trial-balance sheet, confers with the Extension Agent 
on current problems of agricultural production or marketing, and submits his report 
to the Council. 

The Washoes, along with various other Indian groups, have demonstrated that 
they are capable of managing their own affairs when given an opportunity to acquire 
good agricultural land and the necessary credit to utilize and develop such resources. 
They are now looking forward to acquiring additional agricultural land in order that 
more tribal members may gain a livelihood from the development of tribal resources; 
and their slogan, "l-e' mlu-ce", now has more meaning to them than it had for many 




James O. Grandstaff, Director 

Southwestern Range and Sheep Breeding Laboratory 


Cecil T. Blunn 

U. S. Department of Agriculture 

Weaving is ahandicraft of considerable economic and social importance to the 
Navajo Indians. In the years just preceding the present war, about one-fourth of the 
total annual production of wool on the reservations, approximately 750,000 pounds, 
was woven into blankets and rugs. These products returned a cash income to Navajo 
families of about $385,000, which represented nearly one-fourth of the total income 
from livestock. Cash received for blankets and rugs has greater significance than 
these figures indicate, for it is a means of subsistence for a large number of families 
without adequate income from other sources. Weaving has also played an important 
part in Navajo cultural development. In designing and weaving rugs, the women have 
found rich opportunities for developing creative skill and artistic expression. 

Since 1920 there has been a steady decline in the quality of Navajo rugs be- 
cause of the rapidly diminishing supply of suitable wool. During this time fine-wooled 
rams have been used extensively for crossbreeding with the native Navajo ewes to 
increase unit production and improve the quality of wool and lambs for the commer- 
cial market. The grading up of Navajo flocks has resulted in considerable improve- 
ment in the market value of both wool and lambs, but at the same time the wool has 
lost its desirable qualities for hand-weaving. 

This Navajo flock is a 
source of good weaving 
wool. Note the contrast 
between the scrub fine- 
wooled ewe in the fore- 
ground and the adjacent 
Navajo ewes. 

Dipping sheep near 
Tuba City, Arizona 

Photo Milton Snow 
Navajo Service 

The weaving handicraft is faced with a serious situation, but there is hope for 
the future. At the Southwestern Range and Sheep Breeding Laboratory, operated under 
the supervision of the Extension Division and in cooperation with the Bureau of Ani- 
mal Husbandry of the Department of Agriculture, Fort Wingate, New Mexico, an ex- 
perimental breeding program is under way to develop a type of sheep that will be 
better suited to the economic and social needs of the Navajo Indians than either the 
fine-wooled or old-type Navajo sheep. To meet Navajo requirements it is essential 
that the sheep possess maximum hardiness and adaptability to the semi-arid range 
conditions'of this area. They must also have the ability to produce a good grade of 
feeder lambs, and a type of wool that will be satisfactory both for Navajo hand-weaving 
and for commercial manufacture. 

Experimental weaving tests conducted at the laboratory have demonstrated 
conclusively that a long-staple, uniform, coarse wool of quarter-blood fineness is an 
ideal dual-purpose type. This grade of wool has consistently produced Navajo rugs 
equal if not superior in quality to those made from the best old-type Navajo wool. 
Furthermore, the quarter-blood type of wool has good market value, and would enable 
Navajo sheepmen to compete satisfactorily with other wool growers in the production 
of wool for the commercial market. 

The desired type of sheep is being developed through a crossbreeding project. 
Old-type Navajo ewes, purchased in 1935 and 1936 from Indians living in remote parts 
of the reservation, were crossed with purebred Romney and Corriedale rams. The 
male and female offspring of these crosses are being interbred to produce a new type 
of sheep possessing certain desirable characteristics of the three breeds. Selection 
of the offspring for mating in each generation is directed toward improvement in uni- 
formity of type, and in quantity and quality of wool and lambs. Although only three 

Rams of this type, 
now produced at the 
Southwestern Range 
and Sheep Breeding 
Laboratory, are be- 
ing used on Navajo 
flocks to improve 
the wool for hand 

Photo Milton Snow 
Navajo Service 

generations of offspring have been produced up to this time, some worth-while prog- 
ress has been made. In 1943 and 1944 the average clean wool production of the cross- 
bred ewes in the experimental flock was almost 100 per cent greater than the 1936 
production of the foundation Navajo ewes. Fleece quality and body conformation of 
the sheep have also been improved, but the animals still lack uniformity in these 
respects. At least eight sheep generations will be required to establish the desired 
type, and to fix fleece and body characteristics so that the sheep will breed relatively 

Each sheep generation represents a period of about two and one-half years. 
For example, a ewe bred in December, 1944, will produce a lamb in May, 1945. This 
lamb will reach breeding age in December, 1946, and produce offspring in May, 1947, 
which completes a generation. This explains why sheep and wool improvement is a 
slow process. 

During the past five years a total of 93 rams, selected from the first and 
second crosses produced at the laboratory, have been used for the improvement of 
Navajo flocks in certainlocalities on the reservation, where there is greatest demand 
for weaving wool. In selecting the rams for reservation use, primary attention has 
been given to the quality and desirability of the fleece for hand-weaving, but rams of 
good size and type were given preference if their fleece was satisfactory. The num- 
ber of new rams available each year has been small, but will increase from year to 
year as improvement is made within the experimental flock. 

Nearly all of the available rams have been purchased by the Navajo Livestock 
Improvement Association, which is a tribal enterprise, financed through the credit 
facilities of the Extension Division. They are maintained in ram pastures with other 


tribal rams, except during the breeding season. This practice permits better man- 
agement and care of the rams, as well as uniform breeding seasons. The District 
Supervisor has responsibility for the care and distribution of the rams, and the main- 
tenance of records. 

The rams are used exclusively on flocks which have a predominance of the 
native, hairy Navajo ewes. Since ewes of this type are few in number and widely 
scattered, the Indians who wish to increase their production of weaving wool have 
acquired small flocks of Navajo ewes by purchasing or trading sheep with other Indian 
families in the same locality. In addition to those available on the reservation, 96 
head were purchased directly from the laboratory by individual Indians. 

Owners of the flocks are requested to castrate all ram lambs and obtain their 
replacement rams from those produced at the laboratory. If this procedure is con- 
sistently followed, the Indian will receive maximum benefits from the improvement 
that is made in the experimental flock. 

A majority of the rams have been used in District 17, and small numbers in 
each of three other districts. In District 17 some Navajos have been using this type 
of ram continuously since 1940, and have made substantial improvement in their wool 
production. Those in close touch with the Navajos estimate that the owners of these 
flocks retain about half of their wool production for hand-weaving. The remainder of 
the wool is usually sold to the local trader, and in most cases the trader resells the 
wool to other weavers of the community. One trader pays a premium price for the 
weaving wool to encourage production. The demand for this improved coarse wool 
increases as the weavers become more familiar with its good carding and spinning 
qualities. When the tribal rams were sheared in District 17 last spring, all fleeces 
from the coarse-wooled rams were purchased immediately by the Navajo shearers. 

Henry Chee Dodge, chairman of the tribal council, visits the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild 



Interest in sheep and wool improvement has slackened during the past two 
years because many Navajos are engaged in war work off the reservation, and care 
of the flocks is left to someone other than the owners. This condition is probably 
temporary, for the Navajos will again be dependent upon sheep and wool for a major 
part of their income in the post-war period. Lower prices for their products, un- 
favorable range conditions, and a rapidly growing population will make the need for 
sheep and wool improvement greater than ever before. 

In the past nine years more than 40,000 pounds of wool produced by the labo- 
ratory flock has been available for Navajo weaving. This wool was purchased by 
individual Navajos, traders, schools, and the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild. The 
Guild is a tribal enterprise which employs some 300 weavers on the reservation. 
Although the wool production of the laboratory flock is entirely inadequate to supply 
the demand from these sources, it aids materially in maintaining a limited production 
of high quality rugs which can be sold at top market prices. Rugs made from this 
improved wool set a standard of excellence which has a beneficial influence on the 
entire handicraft. 

Records of the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild show that the weavers have also 
benefited from higher cash returns for their labor. From May 1, 1943 to April 30, 
1944, Guild weavers used a total of 6,069 pounds of laboratory wool, purchased at a 
cost of $2,124.15. Rugs produced from this wool netted the weavers $8,500.00 in 
cash, or approximately four dollars for each dollar invested in the wool . In this in- 
stance the value of the rugs represented $1.40 per pound of the original grease wool. 
This rate of income from wool used for rug-weaving appears to be well above the 
average for the Navajo reservation in recent years. Using 1938 figures on total wool 
consumption and rug income, it is found that the weavers then received an average of 
about 51 cents per pound for wool marketed in the form of blankets and rugs. The 
use of suitable wool and good workmanship are two of the main factors which account 
for the higher rate of income received by the Guild weavers. 

There has long been need for more efficient handicraft methods of scouring, 
dyeing, and carding the wool used for rug-weaving. Because Navajo methods have 
changed but little in the past two centuries, the Navajo women usually receive but a 
few cents per hour for their labor in producing blankets and rugs. Improved methods 
and equipment would not only increase the efficiency of the weaver, but would also 
enable her to produce better quality rugs. 

Improvement in the artistic qualities of Navajo rugs through the consistent 
use of good designs and suitable colors would add to the market value of the rugs. 
Attention is being given to these problems in the experimental weaving program at 
the laboratory. Considerable work is also being done with chrome dyes which pro- 
duce soft colors comparable to the native vegetal dyes. The chrome dyes are espe- 
cially noted for their fastness, and are available in a more extensive range of colors 
than the native dyes. Experimental results indicate that chrome dyes can be used 
successfully in the production of a new type of Navajo rug that will harmonize well 
with other modern home furnishings. This may prove to be a means of developing a 
larger market for Navajo rugs in areas where they are used to a limited extent. 

In the post-war period there will be need for new enterprises. The utility 
values of wools produced by the experimental flock of sheep are being thoroughly 
tested to determine their suitability for the production of various types of handwoven 
textiles, which offer additional potential sources of income to Navajo families. 


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